From the notebook of business editor Tim Rausch

Good things can happen at Augusta Regional Airport, right?

Nobody makes a fuss when their plane is on time, their flight attendant is polite and -- most importantly -- they avoid getting the dreaded BCS (body cavity search) at the security gate.

But maybe we should make a fuss...especially in Augusta, where air travel has a certain reputation (certain meaning bad) among even those who never or rarely use the city's airport.

I tend to think the preponderance of negative comments about service at Augusta Regional Airport makes people more likely to avoid the airport, which, in turn, lowers passenger counts and makes airlines want to provide less service.

So, in the spirit of being "positive," I'd like to hear your story about a great experience you had using Augusta Regional Airport.

Tell me about the time you were ready to book a flight out of Atlanta, but, just for the heck of it, you checked the fare out of Augusta and reconsidered (because, let's face it, you're a sucker if you drive to Atlanta for anything less than $200 difference). Tell me about the time that last ASA flight out of Atlanta (gasp!) wasn't canceled.

I know that good travel stories exist out of Augusta Regional Airport, it's just they're rarely told.

If you have one, reply to this blog or send your story to me at damon.cline@augustachronicle.com.

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03/29/07 - 11:05 am
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One supposes that good

One supposes that good things could happen there.

However, this writer gave the Augusta airport many 'one more last chances' until finally one stuck.

I have not set foot in that airport in the last 7 years and, frankly, won't know if 'something' good happens there.

Call it one too many return trips on a bus, when I paid for a jet plane.

Maybe good things happen in Hades, too.

Connor Threlkeld
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Connor Threlkeld 03/29/07 - 02:40 pm
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$200 is a lot of money to

$200 is a lot of money to some of us, and every time I've needed to fly, the price hasn't been nearly that close. If it was only $100 different, I might fly out of here, because that's when the costs of driving and parking are more balanced out.

My recent roundtrip to Philly: $145 out of Atlanta, $160 out of Columbia, and well over $600 out of Augusta. Columbia was an easy choice.

Flying to DC was about the same, $138 out of Atlanta $200 out of Columbia, and even with the recent (at the time) price reductions, Augusta wasn't even close.

I'm willing to fly out of here, but not ready to pay 3 times the going rate to do so. So I guess I'll have to wait for a good deal to find out if they offer a good experience...

abeecee
110
Points
abeecee 03/29/07 - 08:22 pm
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Let's not forget that flying

Let's not forget that flying out of other airports (especially our beloved Atanta Jackson Hartsfield) isn't always a day at the beach either. Recent experience: Booked an AirTran flight to Pittsburgh, partly on price but also because the arrival and departure schedule suited me better. Took one of the local airport shuttle vans. Arrived at ATL only to discover my Airtran flight had canceled. Wait 3 extra hours in ATL airport. Barely make Pittsuburgh in time for my meeting. Homeward bound, flight delayed twice. While waiting in Philly to connect, my Augusta ground shuttle calls my cell. Sorry, we can'tpick you up, but don't worry--our competitor will, you just have to be there 15 minutes EARLIER than scheduled. Holy cow! Sure hope we get a tail wind if we ever get off the ground.
Let's face it. Air travel just generally sucks these days. I hate to say it because I used to love to fly. And blaming our local airport is like blaming your gas station if your car is in a wreak.
And don't get me started about stinky socks and security check lines. That's a whole 'nuther subject.

justbecause
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justbecause 03/29/07 - 10:47 pm
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If you don't have to pay out

If you don't have to pay out of your own pocket (ie business expense), the Augusta Regional Airport can be at times convenient. Of course, you have to be an airline industry whiz to book the right flights, times, and days to avoid cancellation. If you know the airlines industry inside and out, do lots of research in advance, and don't have to pay, flying out of Augusta may be OK.

davidblau
0
Points
davidblau 03/29/07 - 11:18 pm
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Let's face it, flights out

Let's face it, flights out of Augusta are over priced and the airport will continue to struggle until Augusta can attact a discount carrier. What I don't understand is why many people don't think about flying out of Charlotte. Charlotte is only 5 miles further than Atlanta, you don't have to suffer through the long security lines, they have decent fairs, and their parking is much cheaper. The airport authority always talks about "leakage" to Columbia and Atlanta, but do they ever think about folks going to Charlotte?

Does_it_really_matter
1
Points
Does_it_really_matter 04/11/07 - 08:23 am
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Everyone can blame the

Everyone can blame the Augusta Commissioners for not combining the Columbia and Augusta airports somewhere outside of Aiken, SC when they had the chance. We could have been flying out of a very well used, very well priced airport with multiple carriers and direct flights to most any destination in the U.S. with possibly no layovers in hub cities. Take a look at Savannah airport - yes, this could have been the Augusta/Columbia Airport. This would have also brought in low-cost carriers such as Air Tran that won't fly out of Augusta because of the numbers.
Thank you Augusta for insisting on our "OWN" airport for specifically one week out of the year (Masters) and pure greed!

waltbud
0
Points
waltbud 04/19/07 - 03:24 pm
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I recently purchased three

I recently purchased three round trip tickets to the northeast and checked all the airlines out of Augusta, Columbia, Atlanta and Charlotte. Augusta, on USAirways, was the lowest by far. Of course, I did not wait until the last minute (within that magic two-week period when the prices are higher). I did my planning like most people do and it was great. As a matter of fact, I checked yesterday for a flight from Augusta to Washington National...two weeks + out... From Augusta to DCA was $84 and the return was $120...again on USAirways. In this day and age, I can't imagine anyone driving to Atlanta (2.5 hours, pushing it), facing the NO AVAILABLE PARKING signs in their parking garages, parking at the remote lot two miles away and paying a fortune, endless security lines just to walk to one of the five terminals, taxiing for 30 minutes, and then having to face the return drive back once you return. Flying from Augusta is worth every penny, and in my book, the pennies are less and less every day with the right planning.

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